Think you know AARP? What you don't know about us may surprise you. Discover all the 'Real Possibilities'


America's Winter Escapes Sweepstakes
Introducing RealPad by AARP
You and Your Town Contest-You could win an AARP RealPad


AARP Auto Buying Program

Download the ipad App



Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

Contests and

Safe Driving in 2014 Sweepstakes

Learn how AARP Driver Safety can help you stay safe—and enter for a chance to win $1,000. See official rules. 


AARP Games - Play Now!


Planning for Long-Term Care for Dummies

Get expert advice on planning for your own or a relative’s future care needs.


Learn From the Experts

Sign up now for an upcoming webinar or find materials from a past session.

Learning centers

Get smart strategies for managing health conditions.



Heart Disease


Most Popular


share your thoughts

What does the health care law mean to you? Your story is important. We read and learn from every story and it helps us in our educational efforts. We may even use your comments (with permission) to brief legislators, inspire readers and more. Please share your story with us. Do

Sleep on This: Exercise for Better Rest

Get more z's at night without a pill

Age may bring wisdom and maturity, but it sure as heck doesn't bring a good night's sleep. Sleep experts tell us that sleep problems become more common as we age. Almost half of adults over age 60 report problems with insomnia, and it's a particular problem for postmenopausal women.

Sign up for AARP's Health Newsletter.

And if all that wasn't enough to keep you up at night, research shows that people who don't sleep well tend to snack more during the day, which causes them to gain weight, which interferes with their sleep, which causes them to eat more empty calories. It's a vicious, bleary-eyed cycle.

About the only ones who benefit from all this are the sleeping-pill makers, who earn billions off all our tossing and turning. Last year, U.S. sales of sleeping pills hit just over $2 billion for a record 59.5 million prescriptions dispensed for sleep aids, according to the latest figures from health care information company IMS.

Granted, all the recent economic upheaval is enough to give us nightmares, but still — this is depressing news. Not sleeping well can have serious consequences for both our mental and physical health.

So how about some good news?

There is a simple way to greatly improve your sleep without resorting to sleeping pills, which can have serious side effects and interact with other medications. A small but significant new study from Northwestern University School of Medicine found that a group of 17 sedentary adults, 16 of them women age 55 and older, reported a dramatic improvement in their sleep quality just by engaging in regular aerobic exercise several times a week.

The study, which will be published in the October issue of Sleep Medicine, focused on older Americans in contrast with most sleep-and-exercise studies, which involve younger, good sleepers, the authors noted.

The participants in the 16-week study all said that for at least three months, they had been having difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep. They also said they were often groggy or tired during the day, making it hard for them to function. They ranked their quality of sleep as "poor," giving it about a 10 on a 14-point sleep-quality scale, where anything above 5 indicates increasing sleep problems.

Next: 4 tips to beat insomnia. >>

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Reading eyeglasses eyemed 6 membership benefit health

Members save 25% on orders of $200 or more and get 25% off lens upgrades at

AARP/Walgreens Wellness Bus Stops in Clarksdale, MS

Members can get exclusive points offers from Walgreens and Duane Reade.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points